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Springtime is fast approaching so let’s take a look at the 10 most anticipated new releases for book clubs!
It’s hard to believe it’s already almost spring. We now live in San Diego so it does tend to feel like spring pretty much year around but I know many of you are still dealing with winter. But longer and sunnier days are in store for you all very soon! And you have plenty of books to keep you company.
There are so many amazing books publishing this year. It’s hard to fit them in all one list! The past couple of years, I’ve put together a summer list of new releases publishing in those months that will make for great book club discussions. This year, I decided to also put together a spring list as well.
I have so much fun putting together these seasonal lists, which covers the 10 most anticipated book club books of the season. These are the books that will generate a lot of buzz, which always make for great book club selections. I have to say all these spring books each sound so incredible and many are even already in the works to be adapted for film.
As always, if you need more selections, check out my huge must-read book club picks for 2022 list! This features key book club books publishing this year and I also update it throughout the year as well.
The following books are listed in order of pub dates. Let’s get to it!
Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr
I absolutely loved Lisa Barr’s novel, The Unbreakables. You have to read it if you haven’t already! Back when it published in 2019, Lisa mentioned in our Q&A that she was working on a novel about a young journalist who is recruited to break into an art world scandal and bring down the thief – the most prominent art dealer in the world, who is living a double life. She called it “historical and contemporary, sexy and suspenseful.”
That novel, Woman on Fire, comes out March 1. And in exciting news, Sharon Stone will produce and star in the film adaptation! This is absolutely a must-read. Here’s the synopsis:
After talking her way into a job with Dan Mansfield, the leading investigative reporter in Chicago, rising young journalist Jules Roth is given an unusual—and very secret—assignment. Dan needs her to locate a painting stolen by the Nazis more than 75 years earlier: legendary Expressionist artist Ernst Engel’s most famous work, Woman on Fire. World-renowned shoe designer Ellis Baum wants this portrait of a beautiful, mysterious woman for deeply personal reasons, and has enlisted Dan’s help to find it. But Jules doesn’t have much time; the famous designer is dying.
Meanwhile, in Europe, provocative and powerful Margaux de Laurent also searches for the painting. Heir to her art collector family’s millions, Margaux is a cunning gallerist who gets everything she wants. The only thing standing in her way is Jules. Yet the passionate and determined Jules has unexpected resources of her own, including Adam Baum, Ellis’s grandson. A recovering addict and brilliant artist in his own right, Adam was once in Margaux’s clutches. He knows how ruthless she is, and he’ll do anything to help Jules locate the painting before Margaux gets to it first.
A thrilling tale of secrets, love, and sacrifice that illuminates the destructive cruelty of war and greed and the triumphant power of beauty and love, Woman on Fire tells the story of a remarkable woman and an exquisite work of art that burns bright, moving through hands, hearts, and history.
The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myers
Look how gorgeous this cover is! The Tobacco Wives is a historical fiction novel set in North Carolina in 1946. It follows a young female seamstress who undercover dangerous truths about the Big Tobacco empire ruling the American South. Sounds like a very compelling and unique story—for sure one that will lead to insightful discussions. Here’s the synopsis:
Maddie Sykes is a burgeoning seamstress who’s just arrived in Bright Leaf, North Carolina—the tobacco capital of the South—where her aunt has a thriving sewing business. After years of war rations and shortages, Bright Leaf is a prosperous wonderland in full technicolor bloom, and Maddie is dazzled by the bustle of the crisply uniformed female factory workers, the palatial homes, and, most of all, her aunt’s glossiest clientele: the wives of the powerful tobacco executives.
But she soon learns that Bright Leaf isn’t quite the carefree paradise that it seems. A trail of misfortune follows many of the women, including substantial health problems, and although Maddie is quick to believe that this is a coincidence, she inadvertently uncovers evidence that suggests otherwise.
Maddie wants to report what she knows, but in a town where everyone depends on Big Tobacco to survive, she doesn’t know who she can trust—and fears that exposing the truth may destroy the lives of the proud, strong women with whom she has forged strong bonds.
Shedding light on the hidden history of women’s activism during the post-war period, at its heart, The Tobacco Wives is a deeply human, emotionally satisfying, and dramatic novel about the power of female connection and the importance of seeking truth.
Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett
For the mystery loves, you have to check out Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett. A Black reality TV star is found dead and while her death is instantly declared an overdose, her estranged half-sister refuses to believe the official story. This leads her on a dangerous search for the truth. Excited for this one! I love a good mystery. Here’s the synopsis:
When the body of disgraced reality TV star Desiree Pierce is found on a playground in the Bronx the morning after her 25th birthday party, the police and the media are quick to declare her death an overdose. It’s a tragedy, certainly, but not a crime.
But Desiree’s half-sister Lena Scott knows that can’t be the case. A graduate student at Columbia, Lena has spent the past decade forging her own path far from the spotlight, but some facts about Desiree just couldn’t have changed since their childhood. And Desiree would never travel above 125th Street. So why is no one listening to her?
Despite the bitter truth that the two haven’t spoken in two years, torn apart by Desiree’s partying and by their father, Mel, a wealthy and influential hip-hop mogul, Lena becomes determined to find justice for her sister, even if it means untangling her family’s darkest secrets—or ending up dead herself.
Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li
I’ve been looking forward to Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li for quite some time! This is her debut novel and is currently in development at Netflix, with Grace serving as an executive producer for the series. So exciting! This heist novel is inspired by the true story of Chinese art vanishing from Western museums. It covers diaspora, the colonization of art, and the complexity of the Chinese American identity. Here’s the synopsis:
History is told by the conquerors. Across the Western world, museums display the spoils of war, of conquest, of colonialism: priceless pieces of art looted from other countries, kept even now.
Will Chen plans to steal them back.
A senior at Harvard, Will fits comfortably in his carefully curated roles: a perfect student, an art history major and sometimes artist, the eldest son who has always been his parents’ American Dream. But when a mysterious Chinese benefactor reaches out with an impossible—and illegal—job offer, Will finds himself something else as well: the leader of a heist to steal back five priceless Chinese sculptures, looted from Beijing centuries ago.
His crew is every heist archetype one can imagine—or at least, the closest he can get. A con artist: Irene Chen, a public policy major at Duke who can talk her way out of anything. A thief: Daniel Liang, a premed student with steady hands just as capable of lockpicking as suturing. A getaway driver: Lily Wu, an engineering major who races cars in her free time. A hacker: Alex Huang, an MIT dropout turned Silicon Valley software engineer. Each member of his crew has their own complicated relationship with China and the identity they’ve cultivated as Chinese Americans, but when Will asks, none of them can turn him down.
Because if they succeed? They earn fifty million dollars—and a chance to make history. But if they fail, it will mean not just the loss of everything they’ve dreamed for themselves but yet another thwarted attempt to take back what colonialism has stolen.
Equal parts beautiful, thoughtful, and thrilling, Portrait of a Thief is a cultural heist and an examination of Chinese American identity, as well as a necessary critique of the lingering effects of colonialism.
Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang
There are some synopsis that I’ll read and I know instantly this book will have a lasting impact. Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang is one of those novels. In this epic and grand storytelling style, the story follows a Chinese girl named Daiyu who tries to outrun tragedy after tragedy while also trying to find her place in a country she never sought to call home. Here’s the synopsis:
Daiyu never wanted to be like the tragic heroine for whom she was named, revered for her beauty and cursed with heartbreak. But when she is kidnapped and smuggled across an ocean from China to America, Daiyu must relinquish the home and future she imagined for herself. Over the years that follow, she is forced to keep reinventing herself to survive. From a calligraphy school, to a San Francisco brothel, to a shop tucked into the Idaho mountains, we follow Daiyu on a desperate quest to outrun the tragedy that chases her. As anti-Chinese sentiment sweeps across the country in a wave of unimaginable violence, Daiyu must draw on each of the selves she has been—including the ones she most wants to leave behind—in order to finally claim her own name and story.
At once a literary tour de force and a groundbreaking work of historical fiction, Four Treasures of the Sky announces Jenny Tinghui Zhang as an indelible new voice. Steeped in untold history and Chinese folklore, this novel is a spellbinding feat.
Let’s Not Do That Again by Grant Ginder
Let’s Not Do That Again by Grant Ginder is said to be for fans of Veep’s humor and Succession’s family drama—yes, please! The story follows the Harrison family. Nancy is running for Senate and all is going well, except for the fact both of her adult children, Greta and Nick, are adrift. When Greta makes national headlines, it throws everything into a tailspin. Here’s the synopsis:
Nancy Harrison is running for Senate, and she’s going to win, goddamnit. Not that that’s her slogan, although it could be. She’s said all the right things. Passed all the right legislation. Chapped her lips kissing babies. There’s just one problem: her grown children.
Greta and Nick Harrison are adrift. Nick is floundering in his attempts to write a musical about the life of Joan Didion (called Hello to All That!). And then there’s his little sister Greta. Smart, pretty, and completely unmotivated, allowing her life to pass her by like the shoppers at the Apple store where she works.
One morning the world wakes up not to Nancy making headlines, but her daughter, Greta. She’s in Paris. With extremist protestors. Throwing a bottle of champagne through a beloved bistro’s front window. In order to save her campaign, not to mention her daughter, Nancy and Nick must find Greta before it’s too late.
Smart, funny, and surprisngly tender, Let’s Not Do That Again shows that family, like politics, can hurt like a mother.
Hope and Glory by Jendella Benson
Hope and Glory by Jendella Benson sounds like such a compelling read about going back home. Glory returns to London for her father’s funeral. Her family is in absolute disarray from the loss and other issues as well. She decides to stay longer to try and help out her family but all is not perfect with Glory either. This one will tackle many themes and no doubt will make you think. Here’s the synopsis:
Glory Akindele returns to London from her seemingly glamorous life in LA to mourn the sudden death of her father, only to find her previously close family has fallen apart in her absence. Her brother, Victor, is in jail and won’t speak to her because she didn’t come home for his trial. Her older sister, Faith, once a busy career woman, appears to have lost her independence and ambition, and is instead channeling her energies into holding together a perfect suburban family. Worst of all, their mother, Celeste, is headed toward a breakdown after the death of her husband and the shame of her son’s incarceration.
Rather than returning to America, Glory decides to stay and try to bring them all together again. It’s a tall order given that Glory’s life isn’t exactly working out according to plan either, and she’s acutely aware that she’s not so sure who she is and what she wants.
A chance reunion with a man she’d known in her teens—the perceptive but elusive Julian—gives her the courage to start questioning why her respectable but obsessively private Nigerian immigrant family is the way it is. But then Glory’s questioning unearths a massive secret that shatters the family’s fragile peace—and she risks losing everyone she deeply cares about in her pursuit of the truth and a reunited family.
Like a House on Fire by Lauren McBrayer
Like a House on Fire by Lauren McBrayer tackles identity, choices, motherhood and more. The story follows Merit—she’s married with two kids but feels stuck in a rut. When she returns to her career, she feels a strong connection with Jane, the woman who hired her. They start to develop a close friendship and then it turns into something more. I can already see how this one will bring about plenty of discussion at your book club meeting! Here’s the synopsis:
After twelve years of marriage and two kids, Merit has begun to feel like a stranger in her own life. She loves her husband and sons, but she desperately needs something more than sippy cups and monthly sex. So, she returns to her career at Jager + Brandt, where a brilliant and beautiful Danish architect named Jane decides to overlook the “break” in Merit’s résumé and give her a shot.
Jane is a supernova—witty and dazzling and unapologetically herself—and as the two work closely together, their relationship becomes a true friendship. In Jane, Merit sees the possibility of what a woman could be. And Jane sees Merit exactly for who she is. Not the wife and mother dutifully performing the roles expected of her, but a whole person.
Their relationship quickly becomes a cornerstone in Merit’s life. And as Merit starts to open her mind to the idea of more—more of a partner, more of a match, more out of love—she begins to question: What if the love of her life isn’t the man she married. What if it’s Jane?
Our Little World by Karen Winn
Another novel that I’ve been anticipating for months is Our Little World by Karen Winn. That one is going to be ideal for your book club, especially if you’re a fan of Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You novel. The story takes place in July 1985 in New Jersey. Seventh grader Bee is enjoying her summer days but things aren’t as perfect as they appear—especially when it comes to her relationship with her younger sister. And everything changes forever when a little girl goes missing at the lake. Stability is fractured and secrets will be revealed. Here’s the synopsis:
July 1985. It’s a normal, sweltering New Jersey summer for soon-to-be seventh grader Bee Kocsis. Her thoughts center only on sunny days spent at Deer Chase Lake, on evenings chasing fireflies around her cul-de-sac with the neighborhood kids, and on Max, the boy who just moved in across the street. There’s also the burgeoning worry that she’ll never be as special as her younger sister, Audrina, who seems to effortlessly dazzle wherever she goes.
But when Max’s little sister, Sally, goes missing at the lake, Bee’s long-held illusion of stability is shattered in an instant. As the families in her close-knit community turn inward, suspicious and protective, things in Bee’s own home become increasingly strained, most of all with Audrina, when a shameful secret surfaces. With everything changed, Bee and Audrina’s already-fraught sisterhood is pushed to the limit as they grow up—and apart—in the wake of an innocence lost too soon.
Perfect for readers of Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You, Our Little World is a powerful and lyrical coming-of-age story that examines the complicated bond of sisterhood, the corrosive power of envy, and how the traumas of our youths can shape our identities for a lifetime.
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
I love Emily Henry books! I think they are fun, insightful, funny and heartwarming. They do cover serious topics as well so they truly are well-rounded novels. Her latest novel, Book Lovers, follows a literary agent and a book editor who are absolutely not a fit for each other…so you can guess what happens. Opposites attract/enemies to lovers/etc., those storylines are very entertaining and like I mentioned, Emily also includes plenty of depth to her stories as well. Here’s the synopsis:
Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.
Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.
If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.